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Hedgehog room

The hedgehog room is heated to a minimum of 21 degrees Celsius all year round, even in the middle of the cold winter so that they never stay too cold. In other seasons it is between 23 and 27 degrees Celsius. This difference is mainly caused by extremely hot summers, which can cause the temperature to rise faster in summer. In winter, additional heating elements are used when necessary to heat the room in its entirety. Because even during handling, the animals can cool down quickly and we want to prevent that. Therefore, introductory meetings are usually held in the hedgehog room and not in the living room, where the temperature in the house can be colder.


The hedgehogs stay in cages that are at least 100 centimeters wide and 50 centimeters deep. Nursing mothers can be housed in smaller housing temporarily, because they make little use of the space during the nursing period and then focus better on the young. The ladies are kept in a group, in an enclosure of about 340 centimeters wide and 60 centimeters deep. We hardly use running wheels, because the hedgehogs can regularly walk around freely in the safe, heated hedgehog room that is set up at such times as an animal shelter complete with hiding places, toys, food and water bowls and other accessories.


The hedgehogs get Smilla kitten as a daily food, in which we make no difference between adult animals, nursing animals or young animals, because after years of experience it has been seen that this makes little difference. Smilla kitten is a small kibble with a good protein and protein ratio, with a relatively large amount of meat. It is easy to chew and the hedgehogs really like it. In addition, the hedgehogs are regularly fed insects, meat, eggs and fish to make their diet as varied as possible. The hedgehogs get little or no fruit and vegetables. White bellies lack the enzymes that digest cellulose and vegetable foods are therefore not recommended in large quantities.


Every six to twelve months, the hedgehogs are tested for glocal levels through their urine. For example, we can spot and treat diabetes in hedgehogs early and treat it. Fortunately, this is very rare in hedgehogs. In addition, we do a stool test every 3 months to see if there are any parasites present. We do this at home, using our own microscope. This way we do not have to treat preventively and we can still be on time in the event of an outbreak. We leave any blood tests or further procedures to an experienced veterinarian. In our case, we will divert to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University. For minor procedures or basic medication, we will settle for a less experienced vet in Hoogeveen or Wezep. However, we always recommend that you seek a good veterinarian in advance, so that help can always be sought in time in case of problems.


Our hedgehogs are handled daily to check their health and cut their nails where necessary. African Pygmy Hedgehogs naturally also require regular socialization in order to remain accustomed to human handling. Our young hedgehogs are therefore well socialized from the age of 14 days! This is ideal for new owners, because it also means we know exactly which hedgehog would be suitable for an inexperienced owner and which hedgehog would be better off with an experienced owner. We regularly hear that the hedgehogs that move from our hedgery are very tame and not stressed at all. And of course we are very proud of that!


African Pygmy Hedgehogs are prey animals, so it is to be expected of a hedgehog that he or she can be defensive when something unexpected happens. But there are many other behavioral indicators to tell if a hedgehog is happy or angry, bored or over-stimulated. That is why we closely monitor the behavior of our animals to determine whether additional care is required.


Before a young hedgehog moves, general health is considered: what do the eyes look like, the nose, the mouth, the skin and the nails? Afterwards, tests are carried out for pH, glocuse and protein, all three to look for indications of diabetes mellitus. And a stool examination is done under the microscope to look for the presence of parasites or eggs. And finally, the weight and growth curve of the hedgehog are looked at. The hedgehog is only allowed to move when these tests have all been approved. And even then we stay in touch for the first time to make sure everything is going well! Because you never know what stress can cause. And after that we are of course always available in case of problems. Our own hedgehogs are checked in the same way regularly, at least every six months. In the meantime, we look at whether additional check-ups or care is needed based on any symptoms.


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